Looking Back on 2020

Maybe it should be unsurprising that 2020 has no intention of going quietly. By the beginning of December, it had already given us a sudden explosion in remote work, COVID-19 themed lures, a ransomware surge, election disinformation, and 5G deployment battles. Yet, 2020 was not finished.

As we head into the last few weeks of the year, the Solarstorm or SUNBURST intrusion has rocked the US government and the cybersecurity industry, providing an example of what a sophisticated intrusion and supply chain compromise actually looks like. While cybersecurity is never a quiet field, this year has provided no respite for network defenders. Moreover, these events continue to demonstrate the need for cybersecurity companies to share threat information with each other if they want to meet these challenges effectively.

As a result, despite the challenges posed by 2020, CTA members continued their strong support of our work. In fact, I have to consider 2020 a success for CTA. Over the course of the year, we:

  • Added 3 new companies to the Alliance – OneFirewall, Anomali, and SecurityScorecard – with two more coming very soon.
  • Deployed an upgraded automated sharing platform, culminating more than a year of development work.
  • Reached the 100 million shared observables mark in early September and will likely reach 140 million by the end of December.
  • Reached 350+ member blogs and threat reports shared early with other CTA members since 2018.
  • Ramped up publishing on the CTA blog with 29 posts for the year, including 10 guest blogs from our members and partners.
  • Established partnerships with five contributing allies, including the Financial Services Information Sharing and Analysis Center (FS-ISAC), the Information Technology ISAC, CSIRT Asobancaria (which represents financial institutions in Latin America), Taiwan CERT, and the Center for Internet Security (CIS), which encompasses the Election Infrastructure ISAC and the Multi-State ISAC. We also joined the No More Ransom initiative.
  • Readied our Election Security Working Group to support state and local election officials in the conduct of the US Presidential election.
  • Issued a report (revised April 2021) on cyber threats to the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games through our Olympics Cybersecurity Working Group.
  • Sponsored four online conferences, ramped up our social media presence and blog posting, and started a webinar series.
  • Collaborated with the Global Cyber Alliance to provide work from home guidance.
  • Rolled out the CTA Champions program, an invitation-only initiative for individuals from industry, academia, and beyond who are passionate advocates for CTA’s mission and goals. As of December 2020, we have officially signed on three CTA Champions.
  • Actively participated in the Aspen Cybersecurity Group, the World Economic Forum’s Partnership Against Cybercrime, and the New York Cyber Task Force.

This hard work in 2020 enables CTA to head into 2021 in a stronger position than ever. That’s good, because, as an industry, cybersecurity providers will have plenty of challenges next year too. In the US, while the Presidential transition offers the opportunity to increase the US government’s focus on cybersecurity, it could also disrupt ongoing public-private collaborations. We will need to step up efforts against cybercrime, especially ransomware, and begin to reduce its impact on individuals and the overall economy. We will have to protect the COVID-19 vaccine supply chain and distribution system from cyber threats. We will have to deal with the long-term fallout from the SolarWinds compromise, an effort that will likely span several years. And that’s just what we can predict right now.

Yet, no matter what 2021 brings, CTA will continue to forge ahead in trying to make the digital ecosystem safer. If your company is already a member, we appreciate your continued support in achieving this goal. If your company is not yet a member, you should check us out – now is definitely the time to find new, robust ways to collaborate in cybersecurity. Only by working together can we successfully overcome whatever the coming years choose to throw at us.

2020 CTA intelligence sharing
Headshot of Michael Daniel.

Author: Michael Daniel

As President and CEO of CTA, Michael Daniel leads the team and oversees the organization’s operations. Prior to joining the CTA, Michael served from June 2012 to January 2017 as Special Assistant to President Obama and Cybersecurity Coordinator on the National Security Council Staff. In this role, he led the development of national cybersecurity strategy and policy, and ensured that the U.S. government effectively partnered with the private sector, non-governmental organizations, and other nations.